Amazon is refreshing its tablet lineup with the Kindle Fire HDX. Coming in both 7 and 8.9-inch varieties, the new Kindle is all poised to give the iPad serious competition thanks to top-of-the-line specs and insanely low prices.
The Kindle Fire HDX tablets look deceptively simple, but are packing some serious hardware under the hood. The display resolutions have been upgraded over the previous models to 1920×1200 and 2560×1600 on the 7 and 8.9-inch models, with Amazon touting greatly improved image quality, which is a tall claim considering the Kindle Fire HDs already had brilliant screens in the first place.
There’s ample horsepower to power those pixel-dense screens – both tablets are powered by the Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2GHz and accompanied by 2GB of RAM, for up to three times the performance over last-gen models. Despite the upgraded internals, the 8.9-inch HDX is extremely light and thin at 8.9 ounces and 7.9mm, thanks to the use of a machined magnesium frame, while the 7-inch model has had its fat trimmed as well.
The Kindle Fire HDX’ feature stereo speakers with Dolby certification. The 8.9-inch variant has an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 1-megapixel front shooter – the 7-incher has only a front camera, which means Google’s Nexus 7 2013 would be a better option for anyone unwilling to live without a backside camera on their tablet. Battery life is quoted at 11 hours, and a whopping 17 hours if you’re just reading.
Both tablets are, as expected, running Amazon’s Fire OS, version 3.0 to be exact, called “Mojito” and forked from Android 4.2. There’s still no access to official Google services, but Amazon’s huge collection of content – books, music, movies, etc. – should be more than enough to take advantage of the new hardware. The retailer is also offering the option to download Prime Instant Videos and watch them offline.
To lend a helping hand to new users, Amazon has added a feature called Mayday, something that might cause privacy advocates to cry out in displeasure – tapping the Mayday button will make an actual human appear on the screen with full control of the device, to help with issues or simply to walk users through a particular function. Other features include automatic scrolling lyrics for music, and a special reading mode with a quiet mode switch that mutes all notifications.
The Kindle Fire HDX 7″ Wi-Fi starts at $229 for the 16GB version, with 32GB and 64GB models priced at $269 and $309. The HDX 8.9″ will be $379, $429, and $479 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB Wi-Fi models. An additional $15 will let users disable advertising on the lockscreen.
The 7-inch model will begin shipping from October 18th, followed by the 8.9-inch variant on November 14th. LTE variants of both tablets will be available from December 10th, with the LTE radio adding $100 to the price of each model. The links below have all the details, along with the option to pre-order Amazon’s latest and greatest tablets.